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  • Writer's picturePaul Coulter

Psalm 3 – One man with God is always a majority

Although I’ve never seen it, apparently there is an inscription on the Reformation Wall (a monument to reformers) in Geneva that reads: un homme avec Dieu est toujours dans la majorité. Translation: “one man with God is always in the majority”. A statement like that could sound arrogant or be abused as a cover for some very bad behaviour (who are you to question me – God agrees with me?), but the sentiment it expresses finds a rich basis in Scripture, not least in Psalm 3. This poem is an insight into the thoughts of King David when he was on the run from his rebellious son, Absalom. Admittedly David had made some pretty big mistakes that had helped to foment the uprising led by this most photogenic of his progeny, but the fact remains that David was God’s anointed king. The sheer number of people who turned away from David in this moment is astounding as we read about it in 2 Samuel. It seems that David was left with the barest handful of loyal followers and many of his enemies believed that God would np longer move to rescue this aging and increasingly ineffective ruler.

In this most trying of times David did what a lifetime of habitual praise had taught him to do instinctively. He cries out to the Lord. His expression of peaceful trust in God is inspiring – he can sleep at peace and know that he will wake again, because God sustains him (verse 5). He is confident that God will answer his cry (verse 4) and so He refuses to fear even if he is outnumbered 10,000 to one (verse 6). God is the shield that defends him and the one who will lift his head up so he can stand tall (verse 3). David calls on God to deliver him and so bless His people (verses 7-8). Here is a man whose faith convinces him that ultimate vindication will be his because God is on his side. There will be no majority verdict, no finely balanced contest, no question of a rematch – when God acts there will be no other outcome than decisive victory.

At least in my corner of the world, the prevailing feeling among Christians is that we are increasingly in the minority, or decreasingly in the majority. The influence of Christian values in public life seems to be diminishing. Faced with this, we may lose heart, bow to the pressure and retreat into a private space (home / church / the quiet time behind closed doors) where we can comfort ourselves with God’s love for us. What is needed instead is the kind of confidence David. Not that we should feel certain that we will take back the place of dominance Christianity once had – I’m not sure that is even desirable, let alone possible, although I am also not convinced that it is impossible (with God what is?) – but we should have utter confidence in the future enthronement of David’s greatest son. God’s plan to bring His people to glory will not fail – He will complete it as Romans 8:28-30 says. That’s why Paul can follow those verses with the rhetorical question: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (verse 31). Take confidence in this fact, then, that in Christ your future is secure. Your deliverer is coming. Maranatha!

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